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Trump to 'un-ban' arms deals with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the Yemen conflict [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 February, 2017

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Trump is reportedly set to approve weapons deals with allies Saudi Arabia and Bahrain that were blocked at the end of the Obama administration over human rights concerns.

US President Donald Trump is reportedly ready to go ahead with weapons deals with allies Saudi Arabia and Bahrain that were blocked at the end of the Obama administration.

Trump looks set to approve transfers of a $300 million precision-guided missile package for Riyadh and a multibillion-dollar F-16 deal for Bahrain, a US official told the Washington Times on Wednesday.

"These are significant sales for key allies in the Gulf who are facing the threat from Iran and who can contribute to the fight against the Islamic State," the unnamed official said.

"Whereas the Obama administration held back on these, they're now in the new administration's court for a decision - and I would anticipate the decision will be to move forward."

In December, former president Barack Obama blocked the transfer of the precision munitions to Riyadh following growing anger at the huge civilian death toll by Saudi-led forces in Yemen.

In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition launched air raids against Iran-backed Houthi rebels and their allies after the rebels overran much of Yemen.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the war since that date, the UN has said, including around 1,400 children. Another three million Yemenis have been displaced by the conflict and millions are in need of food aid.

The UN appealed this week for $2.1 billion to provide desperately needed aid to millions of people in the war-ravaged country this year, warning the country could soon face famine.

Obama also blocked the sale of 19 F-16 warplanes worth a reported $2.8 billion to Bahrain because of human rights violations against dissidents.

Hundreds of Shia Bahrainis have been arrested and put on trial since security forces backed by Saudi-led troops crushed in March 2011 month-long protests that demanded democratic reforms, during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings.

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